Message of Lamentations, The: Honest to God (Bible Speaks Today Series)
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC is the likely setting for the book of Lamentations. This was the most traumatic event in the whole of Old Testament history, with its extreme human suffering, devastation of the...
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The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC is the likely setting for the book of Lamentations. This was the most traumatic event in the whole of Old Testament history, with its extreme human suffering, devastation of the ancient city, national humiliation, and the undermining of all that was thought to be theologically guaranteed - the Davidic monarchy, the city of Zion, and the temple of the God of Israel.
It is out of that unspeakable pain that Lamentations speaks, in poetry of astonishing beauty and intricacy, though soaked in tears.
If we neglect this book, says Chris Wright, we miss the challenge and reward of wrestling with the massive theological issues that permeate it. How can suffering be endured alongside faith in an all-loving, good God? Even if these events are recognized and accepted as God's judgment, has not the flood of brutality and evil gone beyond all bounds? If anarchy, death and destruction stalk the land, can the centre of Israel's faith hold?
Wright shows that as Christian readers we must not, and cannot, isolate Lamentations from the rest of the Bible; and equally, that we should not read the rest of the Bible without Lamentations. We must still let it speak for itself, as a book for today.
Christopher J. H. Wright (Ph.D., Cambridge) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His doctorate is in Old Testament ethics. He taught Old Testament in India for five years (1983-88) at Union Biblical Seminary, and then returned to the faculty of All Nations Christian College, a missionary training school in England, where he was principal from 1993-2001. Wright is now the international director of the Langham Partnership International (known in the United States as John Stott Ministries), providing literature, scholarships and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries.
He has written a number of informative books for thinking Christians including commentaries on Deuteronomy (New International Bible Commentary) and Ezekiel (The Bible Speaks Today), Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, the Trilogy Knowing God the Father through the Old Testament, Knowing the Holy Spirit through the Old Testament, and Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament and The Uniqueness of Jesus. An ordained Anglican, he serves on the staff of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, England. His most recent publications are The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith and Salvation Belongs To Our God.